2018 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin Review
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If you’re not sure whether you want an SUV or a pickup, you can essentially have them both with the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, a vehicle that was as much of a genre-buster when it first went on sale for the 2001 model year as it was at the time of its discontinuation after the 2010 model year.
The top rival to the Sport Trac for some of the time was the Honda Ridgeline, although mid-size trucks like the Dodge Dakota and Nissan Frontier could also be seen as strong alternatives. The Subaru Baja also addressed parallel needs for passengers and cargo in an innovative (but more carlike) way.
In its original iteration, on sale from 2001 through 2005, the Explorer Sport Trac was based on the Ford Explorer but also inherited some Ford Ranger pieces. These versions of the Sport Trac included a 210-horsepower version of Ford’s 4.0-liter ‘Cologne’ overhead-cam V-6, with a four-speed automatic transmission. Overall, this vehicle delivered on its promise, although it wasn’t especially deft in either towing or hauling, and its handling wasn’t all that confident.
The later versions of the Explorer Sport Trac, from the 2006 through 2010 model years, got a longer four-foot cargo bed and adopted most of additional measures of noise insulation and refinement afforded to the more Explorer in its later years as an SUV. Ford also showed some innovation for weekend craftsman and smaller hauling tasks, by offering a special composite bed and both a tonneau cover and fold-out bed extender.
2018 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin Specs
The Ford Explorer Sport Trac is effectively an Explorer SUV with a pickup bed, a midsize utility vehicle that delivers rugged styling, capable power and a versatile cargo area.The five-passenger Sport Trac is available in rear-wheel, four-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, in a choice of two trim levels: XLT or Limited (Limited only on all-wheel drive models). Two powertrain combinations are available: a 210-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission is standard on all trims, while a 292-hp 4.6-liter V8 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission is optional on the Limited.
Sport Trac XLT trims are well-equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, satellite radio and MP3 capability; Limited trims are further outfitted with 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, side step bars, hard tonneau cover, heated front seats, leather upholstery, upgraded audio and the SYNC communication system with Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Standard safety features on every Sport Trac include AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, traction control, anti-lock disc brakes and a tire pressure monitor, as well as dual front, front side-impact and side-curtain airbags.For 2010, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac carries over with minor adjustments to standard equipment and a restructured ordering strategy. The XLT trims now get manual driver lumbar support, while Limited trims get revised wheels and an upgraded audio system with 6-disc CD changer.
2018 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin Engine
Those models are powered either by that same V-6, making 210 hp and 254 lb-ft of torque and paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, or a 292-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 and a six-speed automatic. They could tow up to 7,160 pounds; and in general, they rode and handled much better.
Between the two engines, neither one makes the Sport Trac quick, but the V-8 is definitely the better pick because it’s a bit more confident off the line and seems to have a much easier time with towing tasks and when fully loaded.
For most of this generation, even the base XLT trims included cruise control, air conditioning, and satellite radio, while top Limited versions got upgraded wheels, heated leather seats, and an upgraded center console. Top options included a moonroof, and premium sound with a subwoofer.
2018 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin Review
Further upgrades included the simplest form of the Sync hands-free calling system for 2008, and then a new navigation system with voice commands and traffic info in 2009. The edgiest model in the lineup was the Adrenaline, which added dual exhaust tips, perforated leather seats, black fascias, and a more aggressive look overall.
Throughout the Sport Trac’s existence, you could choose between rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive—and although 4WD versions helped for muddy trails or deep snow and included a low range, the Sport Trac was never a rock scrambler.
2018 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Adrenalin Price
XLT: $28,210 – $30,735
Limited: $33,065 – $35,590